How invalidity insurance is organized

Each canton has its own IV office which is independent from the cantonal administration. The organisation of each office may differ according to cantons. Some have their own administration, others have a joint administration with the cantonal AHV compensation fund, and a few are integrated within the relevant cantonal social insurance body. The IV office for the insured living abroad is attached to the central AHV compensation office, itself part of the general federal administration. The cantonal IV offices are subject to expert, administrative and financial supervision by the Confederation. The Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO) is in charge of this task.

Areas of responsibility

Cantonal IV Offices

The cantonal IV offices process all claims they receive. They are responsible for implementing early detection measures, deciding on and reviewing early intervention measures, determining IV benefit eligibility, deciding on and monitoring rehabilitation measures, assessing claimants’ degree of disability and helplessness, and ruling on benefit-related matters. These offices are also responsible for providing the public with information on the terms and conditions of invalidity insurance.

Regional Medical Services

Generally speaking, all claimants must undergo a medical examination to determine their eligibility for IV benefits. These tests assess the damage to the claimants’ health and the impact it has on their activities. The regional medical services (RAD) are responsible for assessing these medical reports and assessments, as well as carrying out any medical examinations required by the IV system. The RAD decide on whether a claimant meets the medical eligibility criteria, particularly as regards their reintegration potential, their suitability for occupational measures, as well as their earning incapacity in the event that they are eligible for an IV pension. The RAD are also responsible for examining and, where necessary, completing the medical files they receive from the IV offices. RAD were introduced with a view to ensuring that all decision-making is based on a set of standardised medical criteria, and that the assessment of IV benefit claims is uniform, prompt and qualitatively better across Switzerland.

Multidisciplinary Medical Assessment Centres and Occupational Assessment Centres (BEFAS)

The multidisciplinary medical assessment centres and occupational assessment centres (BEFAS) assist the IV with extremely difficult claims. They provide the IV with the information needed to assess benefit eligibility, such as the damage to the claimant’s health, and the impact this has had on the claimant’s capacity to work either in their current occupation or in another appropriate occupation.

Compensation Funds

The compensation funds have a dual role in assessing eligibility for IV benefits: first, they supply the basic information required to examine the terms of the insurance cover (namely the duration of cover); second, they calculate the pension and daily allowance rates for each eligible case. They are responsible for paying out pensions, daily cash benefits and helplessness allowances to adult claimants.

Central Compensation Office 

The Central Compensation Office is the Confederation’s central IV implementing body. As with the AHV, it is responsible for centralising accounts and balancing contributions and benefits with the cantonal compensation funds. It keeps and manages a register of benefit recipients and compiles statistics. The IV offices pass on to it for payment invoices received from doctors, hospitals, rehabilitation centres and suppliers of appliances relating to IV benefits in kind. It is also responsible for paying helplessness allowances to minors.

Federal Social Insurance Office (FSIO)

The FSIO ensures the uniform application of the law at national level. It is the watchdog of the 26 cantonal IV offices and the IV office for the insured living abroad. It also stipulates, and verifies compliance with, the criteria needed to ensure the effective, qualitatively high and uniform performance of IV-related tasks. Technical supervision takes the form of general directives, case-specific instructions and annual audits of the cantonal IV offices. In relation to administrative and financial supervision, the FSIO examines and approves the staffing plans, budget and annual accounts of the cantonal IV offices. The FSIO is also responsible for the technical supervision of the regional medical services (RAD).

Last modification 11.07.2017

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